CHANOYU- Japanese Tea Ceremony
Sense of discipline, gracefulness, respect for others, respect for Nature, punctuality, cleanliness, all of these are traditional values which the Japanese have always cherished, and the concept behind tea ceremony reflects our exact mindset Every single action in Chanoyu is minutely calculated to achieve the highest possible economy of movement, simplicity, and finesse. Every single procedure is performed in a very specific and exact motion. Harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility are the four key words to describe the basic concept of tea ceremony. Wa kei sei jaku. Japanese tea ceremony, or Chanoyu, is a performing art of preparing and presenting powdered green tea in a very stylized and aesthetic fashion. One can also refer to the whole set of rituals, tools, gestures, etc. used in such ceremonies as tea culture. All of these tea ceremonies and rituals contain abstractness, symbolism and formalism to one degree or another. The manner inwhich it is performed, or the art of its performance, is called Otemae. Zen Buddhism was a primary influence in the development of the tea ceremony. The custom of drinking tea was already very popular in China in the 8th century; tea was a very expensive medicine, and was introduced to Japan by a Buddhist monk Eichū in the 12th century. The custom of drinking tea, first for medicinal, and then largely also for pleasurable reasons, was already widespread throughout China. By the 13th century, the practice of drinking tea spread from the Buddhist monasteries to the upper class, or the samurai warriors, who enjoyed this high-end practice as a kind of status symbol. So, tea ceremony developed under the influence of Zen Buddhism, the aim of which is to purify one's mind. Another important concept is ichigou-ichie, which means “treasure every encounter, because it may not come to you again”. The same people gathered here today may not see each other again; so we must receive each other hospitably andwith respect. This is the spirit of the Japanese tea ceremony. Sweets are usually taken before the tea so that the bitterness of the green tea blends in well with the sweetness of the confectionery. Before drinking the tea, host raises tea bowl and bows. It means that host is making her or himslef humble, and showing respect and appreciation to everything around her: to the tea master who prepares the tea for her, to Nature, to the earth, to fate that brought her here, and to all the people sharing thismoment together.
The first sip makes you free from all evils. The second sip makes you do the good deeds.the third sip gives you power to save theworld. ( Zen Buddhist teaching) Turns it around again so that the front is now facing the usher. Cleaning the utensils and putting everything back to its proper place are very important in Chanoyu. Watching the utensils beingwiped and cleaned will help purify your mind and gain composure. The host has to plan a perfectly customized tea gathering suitable for the occasion; he will choose the right utensils, the décor such as the ceramics and flower arrangement, or the hanging scrolls that are appropriate. So, you have to be cultured and refined to appreciate the tea gathering you are invited to attend. In the old days in Japan, the knowledge of tea ceremony was considered to be a requisite for young ladies before marriage to cultivate refinement. Tea ceremony is not a ceremony; we should all live our daily lives with its spirit in mind. Receiving a bowl of tea and the simple act of appreciating it can purge your mind. Peacefulness can be achieved through a bowl of tea. Recently Ms. Midori Oe, Wife of Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and General Secretary Islamabad Foreignwomen Association has organized an exclusive Japanese Tea Ceremony recently at the Ifwacentre. The ceremony was exquisite reflection of Japanese culture. The event was widely attended by women of diverse backgrounds and cultures.